Perplexity as to the night’s forthcoming endeavours is evident on arrival; presented with glow sticks and earplugs at the top of the stairs, what was totally unforeseen becomes apparent – the night is to open with a ten-minute rave. We enter the thumping darkened room and are met by the sweaty cast who are buzzing and throwing serious shapes on the dance-floor. We are led to the seating area which surrounds them. Audience interaction is apparent from the get-go as drinks are snatched and faces caressed. The irrefutable club ecstasy is followed by high-level squirrel hallucinations and steady is the manner in which we are dragged into the dark and gruesome world of drug addiction.
Pre-theatre concerns include uncertainties regarding the team’s ability to match Danny Boyle’s iconic 1994 film of the Irvine Welsh novel. These concerns are quickly quenched by Harry Gibson’s stage adaptation and Adam Spreadbury-Maher’s direction. Non-chronological plot progression interwoven with narrated scenes and quick-paced dialogue keep the audience captivated throughout. Its continuous stream of foul profanities, domestic violence, chilling on-stage enactments of shooting up, and full-frontal nudity proves the show is not for the faint-hearted.
The acting is fantastic. Totally absorbed by their roles, the audience are sucked into their mundane existence with smack. However horrifying Chris Dennis’s sadistic Begbie may be, laughter is evoked by Rachel Anderson’s vick-rubbing nymphomaniac Laura. Slick and stylish is Michael Lockerbie’s Sick Boy whose absolute disgust in the baby’s death is further evidenced by Erin Marshall’s grief-stricken heroin-using mother Allison. Finlay Bain’s kimono clad Mother Superior does the drug-dealer come life-saver justice as does Greg Esplin in the role of Tommy, the new-comer to heroin. The standout performance is the protagonist Mark Renton played by Gavin Ross who has the audience enthralled in his gritty depiction of heroin addiction from start to finish. The play ends strongly with the moral lesson that drugs are bad and Mark hypothesising as to where he would go if he could take a train anywhere – trainspotting.
Clancy Flynn’s light and sound creates an installation like space within which the audience are totally immersed in the team’s graphic portrayal of ‘the most honest drug’. Running at The MAC until Saturday 27 May, I strongly recommend going before it finishes. From raves to suppositories, Buckfast to speed and hilarity to horror, Trainspotting guarantees an untiring, hard-hitting night at the theatre.